The Chicago Planning Commission has approved plans by the Chicago Cubs to perform $300 million in renovations to the club's 99-year-old Wrigley Field and develop $200 million in hospitality, office and retail space on parcels surrounding the iconic structure. Chicago's city council is expected to approve project plans next week.
Renovations to Wrigley Field will be funded by doubling the amount of ballpark signage to 51,000 square feet, with plans calling for erection of a large video board, or jumbotron, in left field and a script sign in right field.
Additional plans include construction of a six-story office and retail structure on a parcel adjoining the ballpark and a 175-room hotel on a parcel adjacent to it, with a pedestrian bridge linking hotel and office uses. In all, the hotel, office building and a newly created plaza would accommodate some 35,000 square feet of signage.
Though critics have complained the signage will create a “Times Square Effect” in the largely residential neighborhood, the Chicago Landmarks Commission approved project plans last week.
“I’m pleased this next important step has been taken to help ensure the Cubs can modernize Wrigley Field and...benefit residents and Cubs fans alike,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement issued Thursday. "The framework is a win-win for all involved, including the taxpayers who are not being asked to subsidize the project.”
The five-year project is considered a boon to Chicago's construction industry, which has seen few large-scale commercial projects break ground since the nation's economic collapse in 2008.
Construction could begin as early as this fall.